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8 Facts About Dog Breeds Backed By Science

8 Facts About Dog Breeds Backed By Science

“A dog has the soul of a philosopher.” – Plato

Are you one of the 70% of people who sign their pet dog’s name on greeting cards? No need to confess, just read on! Did you know that three dogs actually survived the Titanic? They were a Newfoundland, a Pomeranian and a Pekingese. I do not know what was in their genetic makeup which helped them do that. Maybe they were just lucky.

So, are dog breeds all different? What role does genetics, training and the dog’s own personality play in determining whether they are indeed man’s best friend? Let us look at 8 facts which are backed by science which will help us understand this better.

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1. Belgian shepherd dogs can sniff out cancer and other diseases

It is generally known that dogs have an extremely acute sense of smell, about 100,000 times sharper than ours. Scientific studies have been done on the Belgian shepherd dogs (the Malinois) which have shown that they can detect prostate cancer in men. These dogs were able to correctly detect the cancer by sniffing urine samples.

Apparently cancer cells leave a particular odor which these dogs can pick up, after training. They got 63 out of 66 right! These studies were conducted by a French researcher and were presented at a conference organized by the American Urological Association.

2. Border collies, poodles and German shepherds are the most intelligent dogs

If you ever wanted a really intelligent dog as a pet, choose one of the above. These dogs are actually as clever as a two year child and they can process up to 165 different gestures, movements and words. Not bad for a dog. The Afghan hound comes at the bottom of the list as being pretty dumb. These findings were the result of research carried out by a canine researcher, Dr. Stanley Coren, of the University of British Columbia.

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3. There’s selective breeding for tailor made dogs

Consumer tastes and dog breeders have collaborated in producing dog breeds which meet market demands. This is why we have hunting dogs, sociable dogs and guard dogs. The only problem here is that the inbreeding leads to many dogs having typical diseases which are now very hard to eliminate.

Golden retrievers are more liable to get cancer while King Charles spaniels may have more heart diseases. Experts say that pugs could be bred to have larger muzzles so that they do not suffer from respiratory diseases, like they do now.

4. A special dog breed is supposed to help autistic children

A cross breed of the golden retriever and poodle (the golden doodle) is now being bred to help children with autism (ASD). They have been incredibly successful in that the kids’ sleeping patterns and general behavior have improved by leaps and bounds. This new breed of dog combines the star qualities of both in that they are friendly, patient, loyal and above all forgiving when the kids give them a rough time. These dogs have enriched the lives of autistic children and helped them to lead more normal lives.

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5. Chocolate can kill a dog

Chocolate can make your dog very sick or even kill him or her. An 8 lb. pound poodle was fed one pound of chocolate on her birthday and nearly died. If you feed a golden retriever who weighs about 60 pounds with a bag of Hershey kisses, then the effects will be much less severe. The problem is that chocolate contains theobromine which is toxic for dogs. Another bad idea is to feed a dog with apple or pear seeds as these contain arsenic which can also be fatal for dogs.

6. The Newfoundland is the best swimmer

This breed of dog is known for its webbed feet and strong swimming skills. It is no surprise to learn that it was first used to help fisherman in Newfoundland to pull in their nets and also in helping to haul back wood from the forests. They have a double waterproof coat which helps them survive in icy waters. They are strong, loving, courageous, and loyal. They make great guard dogs, too. The only problem is that they adore water and mud which can make them a difficult home pet.

7. Moscow stray dogs

These 35,000 feral dogs are famous for many reasons. One is that they have become much smarter at getting people to drop their snacks just bought at the food kiosks. They sneak up and bark at the customer who, startled, drops it and the dog gobbles it up. This is known as “the hunt for shawarma”.

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Another incredible thing is that these dogs have become adept at travelling on the subway to get from one part of the city to the other. They seem to possess an inbuilt sense of timing to know when to get off at the right metro stop! They are also better behaved on the metro than they are on the streets when hunting down food. Biologists, such as Andrei Poyarkov, who have studied these dogs noticed that they have learned how to cross streets by using the traffic lights. They have also adapted to the continually evolving Russian capital.

8. Dogs who look like wolfs live longer

Generally, dogs live about 15 years but this does vary according to the size and face features of whichever breed we are talking about. Bulldogs and pugs who have flat muzzles tend to live shorter lives. Those who look more like their wolf ancestors with sharp, pointed features will live longer. This is just one of the fun facts mentioned in Planet Dog: A Doglopedia by Sandra and Harry Choron. The longest living dog was a Queensland Heeler called Bluey who lived to the ripe old age of 29 years and 5 months.

Do you have any fun facts about dog breeds to pass on?

Featured photo credit: Spoosquatch/ Perry McKenna via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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